Kenya has just joined seven other African nations, including South Africa, on the list of countries featured on Google Street View.

Google announced yesterday that it has released images of the Samburu National Reserve, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in partnership with Save the Elephants and with the support of the Samburu County Government.

Not only is the imagery a spectacle to behold, but it gives an important lesson in the efforts of elephant conservation in Kenya.

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“Research shows that 100 000 elephants across Africa were killed for their ivory between 2010-2012, but thanks to our work in the Samburu National Reserve their numbers are now slowly increasing,” David Daballen, head of field operations at Save the Elephants wrote in the Google Blog.

“South of Samburu, up into the hills of Kenya, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy awaits exploration… Every day, the Lewa radio command center plots the movements of elephants (and other GPS-collared wildlife) onto Google Earth to help rangers determine where elephants are and when they might be in danger.”

“Visiting the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, you can see the devastating effect of poaching and other causes of elephant deaths in Kenya. Founded in 1977, the Trust provides lifesaving assistance to wild animals in need, including orphaned elephants and rhinos,” Daballen adds.

Google used backpack Trekkers and Street View cars to take panoramic images from the main roads and bush areas in all three locations capturing the more than 600 elephants in Samburu, as well as lions, zebras, leopards, rhinos and other wild animals in their natural habitat.

Daballen said anyone who would like to support conservation efforts in Kenya can make donations to Save the Elephants, the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy or David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust on the organisations’ websites.

“After exploring in Street View, come and see us here in Kenya in person—we’d love to have you,” he added.

[Source and images – Google]